In Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, bankruptcy is a judicial process in which the debts of a person or business can be absolved or restructured. This allows the debtor to climb out of a financial hole, and move on with a clean slate, which is sometimes more economically proficient than requiring the debtor to pay off everything they owe. Of course, one should never view bankruptcy as a "get out of debt free" card, allowing someone to be discharged of their obligation to pay their debts just because they don't want to. It is meant to serve as a lifeline, preventing unmanageable debt from resulting in complete financial ruin. Accordingly, it is best treated as an option of last resort, because it can carry with it significant negative consequences, which must be weighed against the possible benefits. For example, filing for bankruptcy can severely damage a person's credit rating.

Therefore, it is prudent to consult with an experienced Hummelstown, Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney, who can advise you of the costs and benefits of bankruptcy. Because the decision to file for bankruptcy depends very heavily on the facts of each individual case, the advice of a Hummelstown bankruptcy attorney cannot be substituted.

Types of Bankruptcy in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania

In Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, there are 3 types of bankruptcy in common use: Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11. Because bankruptcy is a creation of federal law, the procedures governing bankruptcy in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania will be similar anywhere else in the U.S. Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires the debtor to liquidate some of his or her assets in order to pay off as much debt as possible. Once the sale of the assets is complete, and the proceeds handed over to the creditors, the debt is viewed as discharged. Liquidation is basically selling assets to the highest bidder. Not all of the debtor's assets will need to be sold, and many types of property are entirely or partially exempt, including homes, cars, retirement accounts, and insurance policies. This means that the debtor can keep them. It should be noted that some types of debts are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including student loans, criminal fines, taxes, and child support payments. Even when the bankruptcy process is complete, these debts will have to be paid in full.

The other popular bankruptcy system in Hummelstown is Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Under this system, the debtor's debts are restructured, instead of discharged. This involves creating a new repayment plan that the debtor will find manageable, given his or her income, and that will result in the creditors being paid in a reasonable amount of time. When a repayment plan is approved by a court, creditors are legally barred from attempting to collect under the original terms of their arrangement with the debtor. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is generally used by businesses, though it can be used by individuals (which is quite rare). Chapter 11 bankruptcy requires that the debtor come up with a reorganization plan - typically telling the court how they propose to cut costs, streamline their operations, and pay their debts. This plan must be approved by the participating creditors through a simple majority vote.

During the Chapter 11 process, a business can typically continue its operations, and the stock can be traded, even if it is de-listed from a major stock exchange.

How Can a Hummelstown Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?

Filing for bankrtuptcy in Hummelstown is a influential decision with costs and benefits that must be weighed carefully. Before filing, it would be a good idea to speak with a good Hummelstown bankruptcy attorney.